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Dickson Experimental Sound Film

something has gone horribly wrong 8-p
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This short film was a test for Edison's "Kinetophone" project, the first attempt in history to record sound and moving image in synchronization. This was an experiment by William Dickson to put sound and film together either in 1894 or 1895. Unfortunately, this experiment failed because they didn't understand synchronization of sound and film. The large cone on the left hand side of the frame is the "microphone" for the wax cylinder recorder (off-camera). The Library of Congress had the film. The wax cylinder soundtrack, however, was believed lost for many years. Tantalizingly, a broken cylinder labeled "Violin by WKL Dickson with Kineto" was catalogued in the 1964 inventory at the Edison National Historic Site. In 1998, Patrick Loughney, curator of Film and Television at the Library of Congress, retrieved the cylinder and had it repaired and re-recorded at the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound, Lincoln Center, New York. Since the Library did not possess the necessary synchronizing technology, Loughney - at the suggestion of producer Rick Schmidlin - sent multi-Oscar winner Walter Murch a videotape of the 17 seconds of film and an audiocassette of 3 minutes and 20 seconds of sound with a request to marry the two. By digitizing the media and using digital editing software, Murch was able to synchronize them and complete the failed experiment 105 years later. This 35mm film was generously made available to the Internet Archive by Walter Murch and Sean Cullen.


This movie is part of the collection: Silent Films

Audio/Visual: sound, color
Keywords: edison; movies; dickson; sound; synchronization; synch; Murch

Creative Commons license: Public Domain


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Dickson Film High 66.9 MB 
10.7 MB 
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Dickson Film Low 3.4 MB 
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Dickson Film Medium 13.0 MB 
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Dickson Film High 23.5 KB 
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Dickson Film Low 26.0 KB 
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Dickson Film Medium 23.9 KB 
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dicksonfilmtwo_meta.xml Metadata 2.4 KB 
dicksonfilmtwo_reviews.xml Metadata 4.2 KB 

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Average Rating: 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: Mosquito - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - February 15, 2013
Subject: Text of Titles
If you're having trouble reading the titles from low-res versions, here they are in text.

--

The
Dickson Experimental
Sound Film

--

The film you are about to see (and hear!) was shot sometime in late
1894 or early 1895 at Thomas Edison's laboratory in West Orange,
New Jersey, by William Kennedy Laurie Dickson. It was a test for
Edison's "Kinetophone" project, the first attempt in history to record
sound and moving image in synchronization.


The was cylinder soundtrack, however, was believed lost for many years.
Tantalizingly, a broken cylinder labelled "Violin by WKL Dickson with
Kineto was catalogued in the 1964 inventory at the Edison National
Historic Site.


In 1998, this cylinder was repaired and re-recorded at the Rogers and
Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound, Lincoln Center, New York.

--

The work-in-progress presented here is the first time the original film
image and wax cylinder sound track have been rejoined, synchronized and
exhibited since Thomas Edison, W.K.L. Dickson and their colleagues
witnessed them over one hundred and five years ago.


It will be repeated three times.


Listen carefully, and before the film starts you can hear someone say:
"Are the rest of you ready? Go ahead!"

--

For this final repetition the click
of the broken cylinder has been removed.

--

Original nitrate motion picture material preserved by
The Library of Congress
Motion Picture Conservation Center

--

Original wax cylinder sound track provided by
The Edison National Historic Site

--

Cooperatively restored by
Walkter Murch
Rick Schmidlin
Industrial Light & Magic

&

Skywalker Sound
(divisions of Lucas Digital, Ltd LLC)

with

The Library of Congress

and

The Edison National Historic Site

--

Special Thanks to

George Lucas Deborah Ross
Sean Cullen David Francis
Glenn Kiser Patrick Loughney
Jeff Olson Paul Spehr
Jim Morris Richard Koszarski
Maryanne Gerbauckas Jerry Fabris

And

American Zoetrope

--

Reviewer: Brie Dank - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - December 22, 2011
Subject: Additional Info...
They have found the cylinder that goes with this - unfortunately I don't know how to get a copy of the restored film with sound.

My favorite thing about this is that The Jazz Singer used exactly the same vehicle for providing sound, it's just that Warner Bros used a disc instead of a cylinder and were able to utilize amplification.

Reviewer: Timothy1869 - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - July 26, 2009
Subject: great peace of history.
I remember this film thanks for posting
Tim.

Reviewer: momgoose - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - May 10, 2006
Subject: Sound and Image!
What can you say? This is history. It's very short, but played three times in a row. There are a few titles to explain how the movie was made and restored, but they were a little blurry. The film strips, though, were beautifully clear, particularly considering their age. A little crinkled and crumpled, but eh. What do you want from a 105 year old?

There's not much to this film. A man plays violin into a large cone (which was focusing the sound), two guys looking horribly self conscious dance, and finally, someone walks up apparantly to check the equipment.

But it's fascinating, all the same. Check it out!